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Articles by Brian Beutler

Brian Beutler is a contributing writer for Grist as well as Washington correspondent for The Media Consortium. In his spare time he writes an eponymous blog.

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  • How does Edwards’ union support mesh with his ambitious climate-change platform?

    John Edwards' bid for union support seems to finally be paying off for him -- yesterday, his campaign won the support of the steelworkers and mine workers unions. Which raises an important question: To what extent is Edwards' support for mine workers (and their support for him) incompatible with his climate-change platform? Edwards was the first of the Democratic hopefuls to put forth an ambitious climate-change plan (perhaps inspiring slightly more ambitious offerings from Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson), and he remains the only one of the three leading contenders to have made addressing climate change a priority -- we've heard standard platitudes from Hillary Clinton, and a series of confused and incrementalist proposals from Barack Obama.

    So I asked the Edwards campaign if supporting coal miners is at odds with supporting the human race (of which coal is an enemy, as we at Grist are fond of reiterating). They sent me the following statement:

  • Larry Craig’s environmental legacy was dismal, but his successor’s might be better

    Larry Craig. Photo: senate.gov
    Larry Craig.
    Photo: senate.gov

    In keeping with the classy GOP tradition -- out with the gay and in with the new -- Sen. Larry Craig is now history. But, expanding on Tom's post, it's worth keeping in mind that his brown legacy extends well past his much-lampooned arrest in an airport toilet.

    The New West Network has a fairly encyclopedic rundown of the many ways in which Larry Craig obstructed legislation that was friendly to the environment and advanced measures detrimental to it. Some highlights: Craig supported offshore drilling, supported drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, obstructed appropriations to, among other programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, promoted the transportation of nuclear weapons to Yucca Mountain for storage therein, deappropriated funds intended to count the dwindling population of salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers, trounced efforts to raise public land grazing fees, and attempted to deregulate big timber. It's quite a record -- all the more worth mentioning because some of the names being tossed around as potential replacements present such an enormous opportunity for improvement.